Testing an old lens that's "new to me" and wearing an old watch that's not new to me. Here's how the morning went...
I'd like to think that I'm not an acquisitive nerd but like Michael Johnston my "hobbies" also extend to wristwatches. The one in the photo above is an Eterna Matic, Airforce II which is water resistant to 10 ATM or 100 meters. It is an automatic which can also be hand wound. It's Swiss made with a Swiss mechanical movement and came with a black leather band. It's a watch I have owned for about 20 years. It's one of four Eterna automatics I seem to have collected and, because it is small and minimalist, it is one of my favorite dress watches.
How accurate is it? I have no clue....Nor do I care.
Yesterday I picked up a used Carl Zeiss 35-135mm f3.3 to 4.5 zoom lens that was originally made to use on Contax Y/C cameras. Cameras like the Contax RTSIII which was an absolutely delightful camera from the 1990s. The lens was described by Zeiss in their technical literature as being of superb optical quality and competitive with many prime lenses.
It's a manual focusing lens and has no electronic contacts with which to communicate with any camera. When used with an adapter on a Leica SL2 the lens is like the Sphinx. It divulges no information. It just rides on the front of the camera and looks as cool as possible.
I had no intention of buying yet another "standard" zoom lens since I already have, for the full frame L mount system the Panasonic 24-105mm and the Leica 24-90mm products. Both are very good and very useful but they each bring something different to the table. The Leica brings unbeatable image quality at all focal lengths while the Panasonic brings with it image stabilization (great addition to the non-stabilized, older Leica SL cameras, and the CL + TL) and easier handling on account of its lower weight.
I also have the Panasonic 20-60mm lens which is often overlooked but, for the money is an excellent performers within its range. And so affordable.
But a friend alerted me to the arrival of the Zeiss zoom at our local camera store and suggested I check it out. He knew I had used the Contax system for a few years and remembered that I liked their lenses a great deal. In fact, I still have and use both the 28mm Zeiss Distagon and the 50mm Zeiss Planar lenses from that old system, with adapters, on the Leica and Panasonic cameras and find them to be really good when used correctly.
Obviously this is a pain in the butt and won't go very far in making you the fastest shooter in town. But that's what the AF lenses are ultimately for. There were some lenses made in the film days that were designed to be par focal (meaning that you could focus at the longest focal length which was also the most magnified and then zoom to a wider angle of view and get a more accurate focus setting that way. This is not a par focal lens. Not by a long shot. Or or short shot.